A review of the China - Africa arms trade and its relationship to issues of gender and human security

Jeken, Taylor (2017-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: As emerging powers in Africa aim to secure resources, the relationship between China and Africa has been scrutinized regarding China’s arms transfers to fragile African states. Inquiry into China-Africa arms transfers led to the studies focus on how these transfers affect African women’s human security, and to question whether or not there is evidence that China’s arms transfers to Africa escalate violent conflict. This study determines if there is a correlation between these factors exist and to what extent China’s small arms transfers affect the individual security of women in fragile African states. This was researched to raise awareness to the most salient threats to women’s human security in Africa. Throughout this study, the small arms and light weapons supplied by China to Africa have been found to be both direct and indirect causes of these threats. This research uses perspectives from feminist human security theory, which originally emerged as a means of consolidating the concepts of individual protection, human rights, and the welfare of these individuals, to focus on the security of women through human development and the advancement of international society. Through this perspective it was discovered that there is a correlation between the China-Africa arms trade and the ongoing violent conflict in Africa due to the availability of small arms in socio-politically and economically fragile African states. China has supplied small arms to African states, these weapons have destabilized the region, exacerbated existing conflicts and provided armed groups with the ability to attack and oppress women and children. During armed conflicts women are exposed to increased levels of armed gender based and domestic violence that include brutal acts of rape, sexual enslavement, torture, and murder perpetrated by state forces and armed rebel forces. In this regard, China has negatively influenced women’s human security in these regions, albeit indirectly. While it has always been China’s responsibility to monitor the effects of its international affairs on African states, it has slowly begun to adjust its foreign policies to more carefully consider African humanitarian issues. This study indicates that an important requirement to further reduce the effects of small arms in Africa is that more stringent and effective arms transfer controls are developed throughout Africa. Although African women are victimised by ongoing arms proliferation throughout Africa, their activism and inclusion in peace negotiations and post-conflict disarmament and reintegration operations, is potentially the most important source of resistance to the effects of armed violence in Africa. It is therefore important to formally include women in African peace processes and operations to be able to improve women’s human security in Africa. The inclusion of African women can potentially improve the outcome of these operations, ultimately determining how successful they are at reducing the effects of armed violence. This research will hopefully improve international awareness of the current situation in women’s human security in Africa. To further underestimate and ignore the potential influence of women as crucial actors in preventing and mitigating the effects of armed conflict will lead to peace-making and peace-building efforts remaining ineffectual at producing sustainable long-term solutions towards peace, stability and security in Africa.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Terwyl opkomende magte in Afrika poog om hulpbronne te verseker, is daar ‘n groter fokus op China se verhouding met Afrika state as gevolg van sy wapenoordrag na brose Afrika-state.’n Ondersoek na China en Afrika se wapentuig het gelei tot hierdie studie wat fokus op hoe wapenoordrag die menslike sekuriteit van inheemse Afrika vroue beïnvloed. Daar word ook gepoog om die vraag, of daar bewyse bestaan dat China se wapenoordrag na Afrika lei tot verhoogde gewelddadige konflik, te beantwoord. Hierdie studie probeer bepaal of 'n verband tussen hierdie faktore bestaan en in watter mate China se klein wapenoordrag invloed op die individuele sekuriteit van vroue in brose Afrika-state uitoefen. Die navorsing poog ook om bewustheid oor die opvallendste bedreigings vir menslike veiligheid van vroue in Afrika te verhoog. Hierdie studie wys dat die hand-vuurwapens en ligte wapens wat deur China aan Afrika verskaf word, beide direk en indirek bydra tot bogenoemde bedreigings. Hierdie navorsing gebruik perspektiewe van feministiese menslike sekuriteitsteorie, wat oorspronklik ontwikkel is as 'n middel tot die bevordering van die konsepte van individuele beskerming, menseregte en die welsyn van individue. Die teorie plaas die fokus op die veiligheid van vroue wat verhoog kan word deur middel van menslike ontwikkeling. Deur die aanwending hierdie perspektief is daar gewys dat daar 'n verband is tussen die China-Afrika wapenhandel en die voortdurende gewelddadige konflik in sommige Afrika-state. Dit is ‘n gevolg van die beskikbaarheid van ligte wapentuig in sosio-politieke en ekonomiese brose Afrika-state. China voorsien wapentuig aan Afrika-state om streke te gedestabiliseer. Hierdie wapentuig vererger bestaande konflikte en gee gewapende groepe, die vermoë om geweld teenoor vroue en kinders te pleeg. Gedurende gewapende konflikte is vroue blootgestel aan verhoogde vlakke van geslags gebaseerde aanvalle en gesinsgeweld wat wrede dade van verkragting, seksuele slawerny, marteling en moord deur die staat se magte en gewapende rebelle insluit. In hierdie verband, het China 'n indirekte as ook negatiewe invloed op die menslike sekuriteit van vroue in hierdie streke. Omdat dit China se verantwoordelikheid is om die gevolge van sy internasionale verhoudinge met Afrikastate te moniteer, het China stadig begin om sy buitelandse beleid aan te pas, om meer versigtig te besin oor Afrika se humanitêre aangeleenthede. Hierdie studie dui aan dat dit 'n belangrike vereiste is om die gewelddadige impak van ligte wapentuig in Afrika verder te verminder, en dat ‘n strenger en meer effektiewe beheer oor wapenoordrag regoor Afrika ontwikkel moet word. Aangesien vroue in Afrika geviktimiseer word deur die voortgesette verspreiding van wapentuig is hul aktivisme en insluiting in vredes onderhandelinge en post-konflik ontwapening en herintegrasie die belangrikste bronne van weerstand teen die gevolge van geweld in Afrika. Dit is dus belangrik om vroue formeel in vredesprosesse en operasies in tesluit. Hopelik sal hierdie navorsing bewustheid kweek oor die toestand van geweld teen vroue in Afrika. Die voortslepende uitsluiting van vroue uit vredesprosesse sal bydra daartoe dat vredespogings en onderhandelings oneffektief bly.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/101281
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